Sunday was an eventful day. A 12km race was on the cards. The time of start was 7:30 am. Of course, there would be some delay, it was expected. I was not happy with this. I prefer to run earlier. That also fits in better with my perception of my domestic and other duties. My husband got real pissed off at me Saturday night because I was not in a good mood about the race. The reason being that only three women participants had signed up. Somehow I felt responsible for this lack of response from my gender.
I was hoping it would not rain (at least not much) on race day. I woke up at 6 am. Tea, milk, coffee, and so on happened as usual. I oiled my hair and braided it for my Impedimenta look. My black outfit was all set out the previous night. I donned it. Affixed a hat on the head and a rain jacket around my waist. It added wind resistance someone commented. But I was happy I had that jacket with me, what if it had poured in the usual Mumbai way? I could not afford to get soggy wet on top of my sweat. Have a full load of work work this week, and my husband is out of town all week.
Off I went to the campus. The people had already congregated when I reached. We waited. It turned out that one of the women had dropped out. That left the two of us. I know the other lady, we had ridden together to the Mumbai half back in January. A very sweet person, also, I had played basketball with her daughter a few weeks ago. I was telling her about that, and how it was fun though I wished the kid would braid her hair (it is real long, and keep getting tangled in my hands when I was marking her). So we were chatting of everything except the race. I was not in the least bit nervous at any rate. Wish it were different! I think the pre-race jitters have a role to play in providing you some more drive.
The number of participants was real small. I guess I am used to Mumbai Marathon numbers of late. Which runs into tens of thousands. Here, there were what, fifty people in all? I really thought the young ones would show up in serious numbers, of course, youngsters play video games these days, they don't get out and run in the rain like mad people.
Or maybe they are intimidated by the distance. I would have probably balked at 12 km when younger for sure, thinking of it as 12000 m, me, who was used to 100, 200, and, 800 m races, at the maximum. Of course my priorities (and my physical abilities) have changed over time. Opportunity has driven me to longer distances. As I have mentioned here earlier, even in this wonderful place that I exist in, in the middle of Mumbai, the chance to participate in any form of athletic tournament is virtually nil for me. It was nil back in December, and shall remain so. So, the one off, longer distance races it shall be. They shall not intimidate me, at least not anything less than 25 km. But I can imagine that it sounds daunting. I must just be thankful that I was not the only woman participant! That the other one was my friend.
The race started around 7:50 am. I struggled a bit around 8-9 km. Took short walks. But completed in reasonable shape. The monster & husband were waiting at the finish for me. The official timing read around 60 mins though I felt I did it in 70. Not very sure. There were a fair number of people trickling in after me, which probably put me at around 25 in ranking. Give or take a few. Could have probably reduced my time by around 5 mins, but I did not find that inner thing. Or, I sort of had a bit of a break around the 8-9 km mark. It was fun while it lasted, the distance was sweet enough, compared to the Mumbai half, which will require, of course, much better training (which I usually start around October, once the rains stop).
The race featured a blind runner, who was extremely impressive. Also a few young children who rocked the place. The men's winner was a 55 year old man, remarkably fit. My friends all did pretty well. Every participant made it back to the finish without mishap (as far as I know). I think it is fair to say that the race by itself was very successful.
Although I was not totally keen to, everyone insisted we wait around a bit. The monster was getting hungry, I thought we should head home, but anyway hung around. I run for myself, maybe a bit for these two creatures who show up usually at the finish line and feel damn proud of me whatever I do or don't do. Although that is not very good in itself, I feel pretty satisfied with my timing, even if I know I could have done better. I feel it is enough, given everything else. Which is good because after that long-ish wait with a frisky child, they very nearly forgot to give/announce my prize. But then I have friends who still think I am all that even if they finish ten minutes ahead of me but don't get anything for their efforts (because they are male). They made the organisers hurriedly fill in a certificate and shove Rs. 300 into an envelope, and, it was handed over to me, as an afterthought, sure, but still, for being the winner of the women's 12 km.